The music industry has change quite a bit over the past few years, but one thing that remains to be the same is the need to showcase/shop your music. Sure, it seems simple enough…Just copy and paste a link to a playlist of your latest material, sit back and wait for the great praise of a job well done, a contract to hire you for Rhianna’s new album, and a free pass to Disney World…That would be awesome wouldn’t it?
But the reality is that nobody seems to pay any mind to their process when it comes to showcasing their music for potential clients. Over the years I have learned a few ways to increase my chances of working on projects I submitted my material for. Let me share them with you.
Record label staff and managers really do go through tons of emails and are bombarded with so many tasks, and projects it is very important that you keep your demo brief and to the point.
For all types of demos, keep it simple & short. Put your best track first, followed by two or three in descending order of perceived strength. While an album may have a real winner at the end to leave a positive impression, often times people who are pressed for time will stop at the first or second track, and skip through perceived “filler.” Make sure you grab them with the first song, and keep them hooked with the ones that follow. Unless you’re submitting to an ambient / noise or abstract label, leave off the tracks that have five minutes of building sound or slowly extinguishing outros.
Make Demo edits of your tracks with the sole purpose of getting right to the point. This is especially important for EDM producers don’t have the listener wait 2-3min for the drop, or the main theme of your song/track make a snippet of the track and have them showcase your sound and talent.
The Tailored Demo.
Here is where making a custom tailored demo with meta data,tags, and even artwork that fit the person you are sending it to makes all the difference. When someone knows that you took the time to create a custom reel of music to fit their needs it opens ups a line of communication between you and the person receiving the demo. It is also best to think about making it easy for someone to listen to your music. That means no sending large zip files or mp3s directly to a persons inbox.
I highly recommend using Soundcloud.com. A&Rs, and Industry reps just do not have the time to download mp3’s or zip files while on the go. Make sure the playlist is private, and add a brief description about the songs.
Make sure to mention if any of the material will be featured on any upcoming releases. This is big! Give your songs purpose, you chances increase greatly when they know the material will be part of a upcoming release.
remember you can always say you are releasing your own album with the songs you are showcasing.
The Follow Up.
This has to be probably one of the most important steps. Without good proper follow through you’re demo will just end up sinking deeper into the sea of forgetfulness. It is important that once you have followed the first four steps, that you continue to make a great first impression by staying contact with the person you gave your demo to, and letting them know you are always within reach.
After you have submitted your demo, always ask for some kind of contact, preferably an email or phone number. Then, a day latter you should contact that person via email and let them know how thankful you are for their time and give them your contact info if they need to get in touch with you. Do not go overboard on that first response, that email should be very simple and to the point for example.
“Hi (fill in name here) Thank you so much for your time, it was a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to hearing from you. here is my contact info should you need it.”
This will help you seem very professional and not desperate to ask them if they have heard your demo already. Then I would wait about a week’s time and send an email with the same information but add a line or two about what you are currently up to as an artist/producer/songwriter etc.
The trick is to keep you fresh in their minds and to always touch base with your new contact because you never know when you will strike at the very right moment.
After your second email go ahead and after another week send another response this time make sure you have something more to offer maybe another song via website or download link, or if you are performing anywhere give them a heads up about it and a free admission to see you.